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1991: Giant of rock dies

VIDEO : The Queen's lead man Freddie Mercury passes away

Freddie Mercury has died aged 45, just one day after he publicly announced he was HIV positive.

The lead singer for rock group Queen died quietly at his home in west London of bronchio-pneumonia, brought on by Aids, his publicist said.

The flamboyant star is thought to have had the disease for two years, but he continued to make music and the decline in his health was only rarely glimpsed.

Mercury was born Farookh Bulsara in Zanzibar in 1946 and spent most of his childhood in India before his family settled in England in 1964. That year he enrolled in art school.

Freddie Mercury, Roger Taylor, Brian May and Mike Grose formed Queen in 1970.

Regarded by fans and critics alike as a consummate showman, Mercury was openly bisexual and enjoyed a colourful rock-star lifestyle.


"A great personality"

Music critic Paul Gambaccini

Tributes from all over the world have been pouring in for the man who stole the show at Live Aid and wrote ground-breaking hits like Bohemian Rhapsody - which was number one in the UK for nine weeks.

Music critic Paul Gambaccini praised Mercury for his huge contribution to hard rock music.

"He gave a form which was pretty staid and sour, a great personality," he said.

The director of an Aids education charity, Dr Patrick Dixon, told the BBC that Mercury's greatest gift to his fans was admitting he was suffering from the disease.

"His hope was no doubt that through his openness many people throughout the world would see that Aids is a real illness - that it's killing people every day," said Dr Dixon.

In Context
A Freddie Mercury tribute concert for Aids awareness was held five months after his death at Wembley Stadium, London, and was attended by 72,000 people.

Dozens of stars appeared at the event which was broadcast to 70 countries and raised about 20m for Aids charities.

His enormous contribution to music and his early death quickly cemented his reputation as a rock legend.

In August 2002 voters in a BBC poll voted him among their top 100 British heroes.


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